Do y’all remember that other horse I own? The big, bay Thoroughbred mare? Yes, Gina. That’s the one.
Gina has been a huge pain for oh, the last year or so. Since moving to her current location about a year and a half ago, she has been enjoying turnout with other horses in a seven acre field. For nearly a year, she’s been turned out with Colt and Moe, two very laid-back geldings. Gina took the opportunity to completely embrace being Alpha Bitch Mare. She let the two boys know who was boss. Moe has been the victim of most of her wrath; I can’t even count the number of bite and kick marks he’s been covered with. Gina is seriously attached to Colt. She whinnies her deep, manly whinny any time he’s out of her sight. For the most part, Colt doesn’t really care- he seems agreeable to any equine company.
Gina’s attitude toward humans changed, too. She became increasingly difficult to catch- I couldn’t get her with treats, feed, or by removing the other horses. Last summer, I frequently spent over an hour chasing her from one end of the field to the other, trying to get a halter on her. I was totally fed up with her behavior. She was making it very difficult to provide her with basic care- farrier and vet visits, grooming, worming. It was also making it difficult to ride her regularly.
I conferred with the barn owner, and we decided to switch around some of the horses. Anne’s horse Atut and another horse, Minnie, were in a dry lot off the east side of the barn. The plan was to move Atut into the field on the west side of the barn with Doc and Annie and move Minnie in with Colt and Moe. Gina would move into the dry lot, alone.
Since Johnny had Good Friday off from work, I enlisted his help. We laid the trap: Moe and Colt were caught and placed in stalls in the barn. I roped off an unfenced area between their field and the barn. I shut Minnie in a stall and moved Atut to the west pasture. Johnny and I closed in on Gina. She acted as we were wolves moving in for the kill. She bolted out the open gate and into the small, cordoned-off area. Johnny shut the gate behind her, trapping her in an area about twenty meters square. It didn’t take long for her to give up and submit to being haltered and led into her new quarters. Johnny and I took Minnie and the geldings back out. All of the horses adjusted quickly to their new pasture mates. Gina spent an hour trotting along the fenceline of the dry lot, neighing forlornly to her former friends. Moe and Colt barely gave her a glance.
Gina’s been looking pretty miserable, but I don’t really feel bad for her. She’s got food, water, shelter, and will now have regular care. Her mane is a long, ugly mess that I plan to pull as soon as I can. Her tail is a disgusting mass of dreadlocked hair, whipped together by Oklahoma’s strong winds and a year of neglect. I don’t know what to do about that; a coworker suggested I try WD-40. I can catch her and ride her any time I want- maybe we’ll get to some dressage shows by year’s end.
Maybe some time in solitary confinement will give Gina an opportunity to reflect on her life. Maybe it’ll just make her angry. We’ll see.